Marketing to healthcare professionals. The pandemic has revealed about the state of healthcare in the United States for my industry segment is that selling to clinicians was once based on face-toface networking.
The pandemic has revealed about the state of healthcare in the United States for my industry segment is that selling to clinicians was once based on face-toface networking. The pandemic was just a milestone.
This industry was ready to transform; the virus just pushed it over the edge.
This has only become more so in the last 12+ months. So engagement with your healthcare professional audience using engaging digital methods is more important than ever. Consuming relevant information in the right places and in the bite-sizes is the key, and what we feel healthcare professionals (HCPs) want more than ever before is a way to find additional up-to-date information easily and quickly.
In the current world, where recovery from the biggest pandemic of our lifetime is only at its very beginning, face to face contact has been scarce and is probably still going to be for some time.
Physical seminars and congresses will return at some point, however, the frequency and format may be different from what we are used to. Hybrid events are likely. Right now you should be focusing on trying to communicate with your HCP audience digitally as much as you can and taking it even one step further by doing so in real-time if possible.
COVID-19 has exposed gaps in how pharma communicates digitally and what HCPs want. During lockdown, 59% of physicians liked the choice of a digital offering but only 36% felt satisfied with what was offered, according to Karina Morley, Global Head of External Scientific Affairs, AstraZeneca.
HCP’s want higher quality, more relevant content tailored to digital channels and they have a high expectation for on-demand, self-service channels that mirror face-to-face engagement, says Morley. HCP’s want websites and portals that are optimised and localised which offer deep interactivity with the content. Pharma should also consider future services such as chatbots and medical education services. References to what Karina Morley has said above can be found in this post-event report from Reuters.
Multi-screen engagement is currently the most effective way for HCPs to access the content. Research from MM&M also suggests that nearly 63% of HCPs are now “triple screen” users (computer, smartphone, tablet). Additionally, most recent Healthcasts research demonstrates that physician use of smartphones and tablets to access information about new drugs has increased 133% over the last 5 years. So, in the quest to become more “digital” with our communications, we look at some avenues to explore…
Here are six digital marketing methods for reaching your healthcare professional audiences.
The key to getting the attention of healthcare professionals is content that is fresh, engaging and relevant. We need to listen to healthcare professionals and build content that makes sense for them. This does not necessarily mean you have to start from scratch each time you want to provide HCPs content – you can also repurpose existing content without having to reinvent the wheel every time. The key take-aways to keep in mind are that you ensure your content is relevant, eye-catching, engaging and timely. Healthcare professionals like having information in a concise format with key information clearly highlighted and referenced.
E-newsletters are a great way to reach out to healthcare professionals. Ensure that the most important piece is on the top, include good images as well as links for additional information. Again, make sure that the content is engaging, timely, relevant, accurate and interesting. One thing to bear in mind are firewalls that may restrict certain type of content as well as ensuring that your newsletter is mobile friendly. According to MM&M, two-thirds of HCPs now use smartphones for work and over 40% use tablets for this purpose. Finally, to make the message sink in better, try personalising your messaging as far as possible by segmenting your audience by topic/geography/demographic/criteria.
Podcasts could be used a lot more when communicating with healthcare professionals. These are easy to include as links for instance on your e-newsletter, website or social media. Choose an interesting and relevant topic, with a good speaker as well as a way to distribute the podcast to your target HCP audience. Demand for such events can be high, and as the episodes are usually recorded, they can also be released after the event and made available for a period of time.
Digital banners are a bit like Marmite – you either love them or hate them. However, when they are engaging, placed in the right places and with the right call to action, with an opportunity to find out more at your fingertips, you really should not exclude banners from your digital strategy. You can place these in the relevant newsletters or websites that target your target HCP audience. If banner ads are used strategically, as part of a wider campaign, then they can demonstrate results for the advertiser/marketer. And if those advertisers keep a close eye on their digital display and banner advertising placements, particularly avoiding placing banners in areas where the advert hinders the HCP’s website (and overall) experience, the digital banner will be more successful.
Healthcare professionals do also use social media, and in our experience, more and more so. Running some targeted campaigns on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn is something to consider. Again, the effectiveness of any social media campaign depends of course on the topic, how engaging and relevant the content is as well as who your healthcare professional audience is.
Video content takes information and presents it in a visual form. Video marketing can capture a wide audience and it works on many levels to engage with audiences in an entertainment and time-efficient manner. A “Short Mechanism of Action” (MOA) or explainer video can also be a great way to engage with your healthcare professional audience. Creating a video does not have to take long with the help of a specialist marketing agency and this can be used on a number of platforms: website, social media, e-newsletters, conference stands etc.